Like many of our traditional Jewish mourning practices, lighting the ShivaSeven-day mourning period following the funeral of a first-degree relative, during which time family members remain at home and receive visits of comfort. Other customs include abstinence from bathing and sex, covering mirrors, sitting lower than other visitors, and the lighting of a special memorial candle which burns for seven days. candle serves as a reminder that the passing of our loved ones has caused a significant rupture in the fabric of our lives and that, despite their passing, we will always feel their presence in our lives. As the light from the Shiva candle fills the corner of the darkened room in which we place it, our loved one’s spirit fills our hearts and homes during the days of Shiva and we understand we are not alone.
Our spirits do not rush from this world. We linger for a while in the thoughts and feelings of those we leave behind. We fill their memories and guide their hearts. Through the precious gifts of memory and imagination, we are able to transcend the boundaries of time and space.
Shiva is a time to share stories and cement memories of those we loved. It is their spirit that gathers us, their friends and family, neighbors and colleagues, together. The flicking flame of the Shiva candle, reminds us that as we gather and celebrate the life of those who have left this world, they are still very much present.
The blessings in this short service come from the daily morning worship and remind us of the life-restoring blessings of light. May the lingering glow of our loved one’s soul guide us now as we walk through the valley darkened by death so that soon we may be able to say once again with the Psalmist of old: